Flyhawk 1/700 HMS Prince of Wales May 1941 Limited Edition
HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England. She was involved in several key actions of the Second World War, including the May 1941 Battle of the Denmark Strait against the German battleship Bismarck, operations escorting convoys in the Mediterranean, and her final action and sinking in the Pacific in December 1941.
Prince of Wales had an extensive battle history, first seeing action in August 1940 while still being outfitted in her drydock, being attacked and damaged by German aircraft. Her brief but storied career ended 10 December 1941, when Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse became the first capital ships to be sunk solely by air power on the open sea, a harbinger of the diminishing role this class of ships was subsequently to play in naval warfare. The wreck lies upside down in 223 feet (68 m) of water, near Kuantan, in the South China Sea.
This version of HMS Prince of Wales is as she was in May 1941 at the Battle of the Denmark Strait where the Hood as lost. As far as I can tell the only other 1/700 kit of HMS Prince of Wales, apart from the other version by Flyhawk, was done by Tamiya in 1975 as a waterline kit and reboxed in 2004. The only difference I can see from the Dec 1941 version is in some of the PE, the p[aint scheme and the bonus ship’s crest in the box. As you would expect, nothing much changed in the 7 months between May and Dec 1941.
The box is a top opening box. Interestingly there are images of 2 probably future releases in 1/700 – KMS Bismark and KMS Konigsberg. I think this might be the first time the Konigsberg has ever been done in plastic. Most of the parts are then packaged inside separate plastic bags and where there is more than one sprue in a bag they are held together with an elastic band so they can’t move and damage each other. The PE sheets are laid flat on backing cards and the resin parts are bagged individually and placed in a small plastic box. In case that gets a bit confusing, have a look at the video, but the packaging is excellent.
So, inside the boxes we have approx:
- 575 plastic parts.
- 212 PE parts on 3 frets
- 55 brass parts
- 64 resin parts
- 2 sheets of build instruction
- 2 sheets of PE instructions
- a double-sided sheet for the placement of the metal ventilators
The instructions are in 15 steps on 2 long pieces of double-sided, colour, glossy paper. These sheets cover the basic kit, which is solely in plastic. You also have another 2 sheets of paper that cover the use of the 3 PE frets, brass barrels and the metal parts that form the extras you get in the special edition.
The instruction steps are laid out pretty clearly, as below. Throughout these steps, some parts will be replaced by the extra PE and brass parts in the special edition.
- In step 1 you have a choice of building the waterline or full hull version of the ship and also fit the propellors and shafts.
- This step puts together the main turrets and the larger superstructure parts. The plastic main barrels have hollow ends.
- Step 3 adds some smaller parts to some other superstructure parts.
- Step assembles the hollow funnels, with caps. The ship’s masts are assembled, along with the crane, secondary turrets and ships boats.
- Step 5 adds the forward ventilators and they have a colour scheme so you fit the right ventilators in the right places and have them pointing in the right directions. These parts are small.
- Step 6 adds some of the already assembled main turrets and secondary turrets on the forward part of the ship.
- Step 7 adds the ships’ boats we assembled earlier amidships, along with funnel, crane and mast.
- This step is pretty easy and adds the main ship’s fwd superstructure to the hull.
- Step 9 adds the rear turret and rear main superstructure.
- This step adds some small parts at the very aft of the ship. It looks like there are several 20mm AA guns added here and this would make it correct for after her last minor update.
- Steps 11-15 are all a variation on the same theme of adding lifeboats and flotation devices in various parts of the ship
There’s also a step for building the Walrus that was carried. This aircraft is made from 10 parts – not bad for a single-engined 1/700 aircraft! In this same area of the instructions are images of another 2 potential future releases HMS Legion and HMS Kelly.
With the special edition kit, you have several places where plastic is replaced by PE and brass parts. So for that, just the same as with any other PE set, you have to note which bits are to be replaced. The only thing I can see missing is rigging and a guide. Other than that the instructions are very good, clear and use colours to avoid confusion.
The level of detail in this kit is exceptional. The basic kit is as good as they get with 600+ parts, but adding another 300+ parts of PE and brass parts takes it to the next level. A really nice touch is that a lot of the sprues have raised corners to protect the delicate parts. When you put the sprue down the raised edges keeps the actual parts from touching the bench.
The colour scheme is shown in colour diagrams and the paints are called out in Mr. Hobby, Tamiya and WEM.
Decals are provided for 2 large ensigns, one as if furling in the wind and 2 sticking straight out. The decals for the 1/700 Walrus are also included.
This kit is soon to be available at LuckyModel for $69.99. It is a special edition, so if you want it you had best get it soon. You can also get the regular version fo the kit, along with the deck and masks at various outlets.
This is one of the best 1/700 I’ve seen. Loads of fine detail, lots of extras. The only downside for me personally is the small parts. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Flyhawk for sending along the kit for review.